Samsung today unveiled the Galaxy Note 9 at its Unpacked event to take on Apple’s upcoming 2018 iPhone lineup. The 6.4-inch Note 9 will take on Apple’s largest iPhone till date, the 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus when it launches next month.
In terms of design, the Galaxy Note 9 is similar to the Galaxy Note 8 with some minor tweaks here and there. From the front, the handset looks just like the Note 8, with major design changes limited to the rear. The top and bottom bezels at the front are slightly slimmer but the difference is too small that anyone will figure it out right away. The display size is just a wee bit larger than the Note 8 from last year at 6.4-inches. It continues to feature an 18.5:9 aspect ratio display featuring QHD+ resolution. It is also Mobile HDR certified which reaffirms just how outstanding the display is.
Unlike the Galaxy S9, the Note 9 continues to feature a horizontal dual-camera setup at the rear. The fingerprint sensor has been moved below the camera housing to make it easier to reach. The Note 9 continues to feature an aluminum chassis sandwiched by Gorilla Glass panels at the front and rear. For comparison, Apple switched to a stainless steel chassis with the iPhone X last year and the same trend will continue this year.
In terms of specs, the Galaxy Note 9 has largely the same internals as the S9+. Depending on the region, it will come with either a Snapdragon 845 chipset or an Exynos 9810 chip. To keep heating issues at bay, the phone comes with an advanced cooling system. This will be paired with 6GB RAM, 128/512GB of storage space, microSD card slot, and a 4,000mAh battery with USB-C connectivity. Thankfully, apart from not jumping on the notch bandwagon, the Note 9 also continues to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Other features of the handset include an iris scanner, face unlock, NFC, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, a bevy of sensors, and AKG tuned stereo speakers.
The camera hardware also continues to remain the same. The primary shooter is a 12MP f/1.5 shooter with a f/2.4 variable aperture along with LED flash, OIS, and super fast AF. This is paired with a secondary 12MP f/2.4 shooter with OIS. Samsung is pairing this camera setup with a new Camera app with AI capabilities. Apart from automatically switching to the appropriate mode depending on the scene, the camera app will also warn users automatically if the photo will end up being blurry.
The highlight of the Note 9 is the brand new S Pen. It now features Bluetooth connectivity which greatly enhances its overall capabilities. Apart from being able to detect 4096 pressure points, the S Pen can also be used to switch camera modes, change presentation slides, and more. The S Pen now features a supercapacitor to power its Bluetooth LE connectivity. This allows the S Pen to charge itself in just 40 seconds but it only offers a standby time of just 30 minutes.
Despite Google already releasing Android 9.0 Pie earlier this week, the Note 9 will launch with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Samsung’s Experience UI on top of it. There was no word from Samsung as to when the Note 9 will get the Pie update. There’s also Bixby onboard and Samsung is taking the Note 9 to launch Bixby 2.0 which paves the way for third-party apps and services integration. It also has faster natural language processing and response time for improved usability.